How to Get Free Advertising for Your Business

by Riaz Sidi | Follow Him on Twitter Here

You run a business and you are looking for some free advertising. But you don’t know where to start.

Pitch the media!

But there’s only one problem: you have no idea where to begin.

First you will have to create a great idea for a newspaper or magazine article to be run about your business. And it may be simple and right under your nose.

So you want to gain more publicity for yourself or business but you are not a writer.

The best way to workaround this is to pitch the media still, and to share your story in a credible publication which will write the story themselves.

How do I get a Story Published?

To pitch the media, you will need a newshook – a reason that your story is newsworthy.

No editor will run a story about a random flower store. But they will run a story about a flower store which gets orders from Barack Obama. This is an example of a hook.

Or maybe your flower store sells the only purple roses in North America. As an editor I would think: are there even purple roses? And what makes this store so special that they are the only store to carry this color? And what does a purple flower symbolize?

Make sure your story has a lot of question marks that will get attention.

Keep in mind that the publication will most likely want to write the story themselves, which is absolutely fine – as long as your business is getting that exposure.

Why Pitch the Media about your Business?

The short and easy answer is free publicity.

The long answer would include publicity but also that a story would generate a buzz about your service. And also other businesses will want to start doing business with you.

Despite skepticism, people trust the media and what they are reporting on – even if it is still to a certain extent.

And with a saturated online world of information mixed with misinformation, newspapers still have a certain level of credibility.

So how do I Pitch the Media?

Pitch the media by writing a query letter. A query letter has several key components. The letter will be ignored if it does not include these things:

  • A declaration of intent

Be very clear about who you are. Newspapers get a lot of spammy type pitches of businesses pretending to be journalists writing a story.

Be honest that you are the business owner. Something to the effect of:

My name is Riaz Sidi and I am the owner of Sidi Flowers.

  • A newshook

The newshook is the reason people are talking about your story. It also gives the newspaper something exclusive to share to the public.

If they know people within your niche are buzzing about your story, newspapers will want to pick up on it.

The newshook would read something like this:

My name is Riaz Sidi and I am the owner of Sidi Flowers. I am contacting you in regards to a rare purple rose which is unique to North America.

Sidi Flowers is the first store on the continent to carry this flower – a real honour to our establishment. Purple roses are getting alot of attention within the botany industry and we are very proud to display and sell them.

  • A benefit to the publication

There needs to be a benefit to the publication. This can include a good newshook but also be an aspect of the story which will get readers to look at their particular newspaper over the next one.

Some benefits to a publication would be possible national exposure, a big name in a small story, or a bizarre or unique story which people will be talking about tomorrow.

Let’s include the Obama part to the pitch:

My name is Riaz Sidi and I am the owner of Sidi Flowers. I am contacting you in regards to a rare purple rose which is unique to North America.

Sidi Flowers is the first store on the continent to carry this flower – a real honour to our establishment. Purple roses are getting alot of attention within the botany industry and we are very proud to display and sell them.

U.S. President Barack Obama has specially ordered ten dozen purple roses from Sidi Flowers. We are very proud the President has chosen our flowers and that a flower store in Ottawa is getting this attention.

I am sure you will agree that this is important for Ottawa residents and Canadian newspaper readers to know about.

  • Make it clear that you do not want any financial compensation for the story

Even though it may seem like you are getting free exposure, many newspapers are expected to pay out for good stories. But offer to write it for free to minimize their workload.

I would be happy to write the story free of charge, or if you would prefer, I can give you any information you require so that someone from your publication can write the story.

Once you send over the pitch, find the editor’s phone number and call around 15 minutes later. This gives them enough time to receive the pitch and have a glance.

Most likely they will be swamped with emails and not get to yours in time for your call. But your story is important!

You calling in will show that and you can pitch them on the phone, letting them know you sent them an email. Then get into more detail about the idea.

Newspaper editors are BUSY. They do not have time for your story. That is unless it is irresitible.

Make it that way for them and you will get exposure for your business in no time.

Realistically, it would be best to pitch a very small community paper in your local area. Community papers love stories about small businesses in their area. And residents get gratified by supporting a business in their local area.

So what type of business do run? And what is your newshook to pull in publications and readers?

 

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Nate Williams December 30, 2013 at 8:16 pm

This was a great read. Implementation of these strategies can be used elsewhere as well. Thank you.

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